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    Sale 7743

    Old Masters & 19th Century Art Evening Sale

    7 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 45

    Joseph Wright of Derby, A.R.A. (Derby 1734-1797)

    Portrait of Francis Burdett, three-quarter-length, in the blue velvet coat, red waistcoat and yellow breeches of the Markeaton Hunt, holding a hat and a whip, in a wooded landscape

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Joseph Wright of Derby, A.R.A. (Derby 1734-1797)
    Portrait of Francis Burdett, three-quarter-length, in the blue velvet coat, red waistcoat and yellow breeches of the Markeaton Hunt, holding a hat and a whip, in a wooded landscape
    with identifying inscription 'Francis Burdett Esqre Obit V.P. 1794.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.7 cm.)
    in its original papier-mâché rococo giltwood frame, pierced and moulded


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    This portrait is one of the six exceptional works, collectively known as The Markeaton Hunt portraits, commissioned by Francis Mundy, circa 1762-63. These represent a high-point in Wright's early maturity, and hold their place in the pantheon of celebrated series of 'non-family' portraits painted in Britain, from Lely's Flag Captains and Beauties, through Kneller's Kit-Cat Club and Knapton's Dilettante Society, and arguably culminating in Lawrence's portraits of Allied Leaders in the Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle.

    The commission seems to have been made soon after Mundy, aged twenty-three, inherited Markeaton Hall and its considerable estates near Derby, in June 1762. The inspiration behind the idea was presumably the commission of two groups of portraits of friends, both of which included Francis Mundy's father, Wrightson, which had earlier been given to Arthur Devis.

    Most of the sitters in the Markeaton Hunt series were more than just friends on the hunting field. In the case of Francis Burdett, Mundy's mother was a Burdett, and Mundy himself married Francis's sister Elizabeth. Francis Burdett, of Foremark Hall, Derbyshire, was born on 22 April 1743, the son of Sir Robert Burdett, 4th Bt., and his first wife Elizabeth, only daugher of Sir Charles Sedley, Bt. On 30 December he married Eleanor, daughter and co-heiress of William Jones of Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire; their son Francis (1770-1844), one of the most celebrated radicals of his age, succeeded as the 5th baronet.

    All six pictures were framed en suite in exceptional rococo frames, of which Paul Mitchell (op. cit.) comments 'Surviving examples of papier-mâché frames are extremely rare and there can be few finer than those made for Wright's Markeaton Hunt group.'

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Commissioned by Francis Noel Clarke Mundy, and by descent to
    The Rev. W.G. Clarke-Maxwell, Markeaton Hall; Christie's, London, 15 May 1936, lot 19 (120 gns. to Fowles).
    By descent, with the other portraits from the set, to
    Major E.P.G. Miller-Mundy, M.C.; Christie's, London, 20 June 1975, lot 147 (sold £8,000).
    Purchased by the present owner in 1990.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLEMAN


    Literature

    B. Nicolson, Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Light, London and New York, I, pp. 2, 17, 28-9, 184-5, no. 27; and II, p. 21, pl. 38.
    E.K. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters in oils and crayons, Woodbridge, 1981, p. 426, illustrated.
    J. Egerton, Wright of Derby, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London and elsewhere, 1990, p. 38, the suite of frames for the Markeaton Hunt portraits described by P. Mitchell under 'Wright's Picture Frames', pp. 275-76.


    Exhibited

    Derby, Town Hall, 1762-63.
    Derby, City Museum and Art Gallery, Bi-Centenary Exhibition of Works of Wright of Derby, 1934, no. 26.